Brown Bag: Bill Forry of the Dorchester Reporter
December 11, 2014
December 11, 2014
Every industry our clients operate in affects neighborhoods. Whether it’s a health system or a real estate developer, our clients make substantive change happen in communities everywhere. Therefore, we’re often pitching community newspapers like the Dorchester Reporter, an independently-owned, family-run weekly newspaper covering Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood.
For the latest installment of our Brown Bag series, we were joined by Bill Forry, Editor/Publisher of the Dorchester Reporter for a discussion of how PR professionals can best work with his team. Here are a few takeaways from our conversation.
Go beyond the data: Having a person ready to speak openly and honestly about an issue in the neighborhood greatly increases the odds of a pitch being successful, Forry said. Data journalism is important, but he looks to put a human face on a story.
Pitches are good: “We need to get pitched,” Forry said. With a small team working to develop stories for a weekly paper, solid story ideas are always welcome. Just make sure they’re relevant to the area and readership the Reporter serves.
Opinions welcome: Forry emphasized that op-eds are always welcome from institutions in the community looking to explain a development or change in policy. While the byline will have to be tailored to Dorchester specifically, it’s worth it to get the opportunity to speak directly to residents and stakeholders.
Social media as barometer: The Reporter has a presence on both Twitter and Facebook. Forry’s not as enthusiastic about Facebook, but admits that stories posted there can have wide reach. (News about the family of Martin Richard, the 8-year-old Dorchester boy killed in the Boston Marathon attack, is an example of a story that has had wide reach on social media.) Forry uses social media to get reader feedback and fact-checking, and less for story generation.
More events: In addition to the Dorchester Reporter, Forry’s company also publishes three monthly publications: The Boston Irish Reporter, the Boston Haitian Reporter, and the Mattapan Reporter. The Irish Reporter hosts an annual Irish Honors event to generate revenue for the publication. Forry said he’s looking into hosting additional events in 2015 to see if that success can be replicated.
Thanks again, Bill, for taking the time to meet with us today!